Impossible Friendships

For example, with someone who no longer is,
who exists only in yellowed letters.

Or long walks beside a stream,
whose depths hold hidden

porcelain Cups – and the talks about philosophy
with a timid student or the postman.

A passerby with proud eyes
whom you’ll never know.

Friendship with this world, ever more perfect
(if not for the salty smell of blood).

The old man sipping coffee
in St.-Lazare, who reminds you of someone.

Faces flashing by
in local Trains –

the happy faces of travelers headed perhaps
for a splendid ball, or a beheading.

And friendship with yourself
– since after all you don’t know who you are.

Adam Zagajewski

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